UN urges 'meaningful effort' to end war in Ukraine
STORY: In Bucha – a Ukrainian town now synonymous with allegations of Russian brutality – two neighbors met at a local cemetery to grieve.
One lost her husband, the other, her son.
The sense of loss magnified on Friday, which marked one year since Moscow’s forces invaded.
And there are little-to-no signs a diplomatic breakthrough might end the fighting any time soon.
“Mr. President, life is a living hell for the people of Ukraine.”
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres marked the anniversary with an address to the Security Council, calling Russia’s invasion a blatant violation of international law… and said that diplomacy and accountability is needed.
“We must prevent further escalation. We must all encourage every meaningful effort to end the bloodshed and at long last, give peace a chance.”
The latest proposal to de-escalate came from China, a country that has not condemned what Russia calls its “special military operation.” Beijing on Friday called for a comprehensive ceasefire as part of a 12-point plan on the war.
And while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy did welcome some elements of the proposal, he said any negotiation needed to require the withdrawal of Russian troops.
The West also expressed skepticism toward China’s plan.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken:
"Council members should not be fooled by calls for a temporary or unconditional ceasefire. Russia will use any pause in fighting to consolidate control over the territory it has illegally seized and replenish its forces for further attacks. That's what happened when Russia's first assault on Ukraine froze in 2015. Look at what followed.”
Russia said it was open to diplomacy in ending the war… But said it would involve recognizing (quote) “new territorial realities” like Donetsk, a part of Ukraine Russia annexed in a move condemned by Western nations.
Blinken said the UN could not recognize any part of Russia’s conquest.
"Any peace that legitimizes Russia's seizure of land by force will weaken the (U.N.) Charter and send a message to would-be aggressors everywhere that they can invade countries and get away with it.”
Protesters outside of the UN were sending messages of their own… with signs that read: “Kick Russia out of the UN”
And: "If we don’t end war, war will end us."
But one-year on, an end is not in sight.